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Exploring our world through gay eyes

World’s largest kaleidoscope shop found in Arizona

Cameras only capture a glimpse of the wonder that the eye sees while looking through one of the kaleidoscopes at Nellie Bly. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Cameras only capture a glimpse of the wonder that the eye sees while looking through one of the kaleidoscopes at Nellie Bly. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

High above Verde Valley in Arizona, the scenic town of Jerome sits perched on the side of Cleopatra hill. A bustling city in the late 19th century, Jerome became a living ghost town whose population dropped from 10,000 to just a few hundred. Today, Jerome is experiencing a revitalization. Grizzly, bearded miners wandering Main Street in search of drink and women have been replaced by artists, modern-day hippies and young professionals selling their wares in timber and masonry buildings that line the streets.

Travelers to this quaint hamlet find a feast for the eyes. Victorian homes abound, some beautiful painted ladies, others in a decrepit state that add to the mysterious feel. From a bright blue sky to brilliant Sedona red rocks that can be seen in the distance, a rainbow of colors tease the optical nerves all who visit this gem in Arizona’s high desert.

Kaleidoscopes aren't just for kids anymore, this beautiful example at Nellie Bly will cost you a pretty penny. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Kaleidoscopes aren’t just for kids anymore, this beautiful example at Nellie Bly will cost you a pretty penny. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

The eyes also find truly rare experiences at Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes and Art Glass on Main, purportedly the world’s largest seller of kaleidoscopes. Housed in an old brothel building that looks as though it would be at home in any John Wayne movie, this purveyor of fine goods is packed to rafters with eye candy; the kaleidoscopes  tend to be more for adult who have never really grown up. You can find the ten and twenty dollar toys we all remember from our own childhood right next to enormous $5000 pieces of art that require a horse and buggy to get home.

Huge kaleidosopes such as this one will feel right at home as the center piece of any fine art collection. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Huge kaleidosopes such as this one will feel right at home as the center piece of any fine art collection. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

The most beautiful and most expensive masterpieces are made of hand polished hardwoods or brilliantly polished brass with liquid filled boxes containing gemstones, glass fragments and others baubles that create constantly shifting patterns. Any art collector would be giddy to have one of these astonishing pieces, so that all of his friends who have never really grown up either will be green with envy.

The beauty of the kaleidoscopes at Nellie Bly was only matched by the friendliness of its’ staff. I watched for half an hour as the sales ladies chatted with everyone, showing off their favorite pieces and explaining the mechanics behind each optical masterpiece. Photography is allowed in the store, even encouraged. It’s easy to see how a sense of joy and happiness seems  to instantly overtake anyone who steps  into  Nellie Bly, probably  the most adored store in all of Jerome.

Housed in a former brothel, Nellie Bly now specializes in selling enjoyment suitable for all ages. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Housed in a former brothel, Nellie Bly now specializes in selling enjoyment suitable for all ages. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

Whether you have thousands to spend or just a few coppers, a visit to Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes and Art Glass in Jerome, Arizona is sure to please that child inside or the one at your side.

If You Go:
Nellie Bly Website
Jerome Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Office of Tourism website

 

 

The modern kaleidoscopes sold at Nellie Bly amze and dazzle the eye. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

The modern kaleidoscopes sold at Nellie Bly amze and dazzle the eye. (c) GTH & Nathan DePetris

 

 

 

 

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